Today Haas welcomed over 100 guests (most of whom were prospective students) with the annual Women’s Workshop, hosted by admissions and Women in Leadership. This year’s theme was “My Journey toward an MBA.” The goal of the day’s sessions was to give participants an opportunity to learn more about the MBA and evaluate whether and/or when business school is right for them. Some attendees were locals, but many traveled in from across the country for the event. Having attended similar events before applying to business school, and having found them incredibly valuable in making my own decision to apply, I was eager to volunteer my time at this event.
Registration for the all-day event started at 8am (which, again, is like 5am in the student world!). I arrived on campus even earlier to help set up before our first attendees arrived. I don’t think I’ve seen Haas pre-sunrise in quite some time!
I also managed to sneak a glimpse from the balcony of the Wells Fargo Room as we were setting up breakfast inside. I typically admire the Campanile (our clock tower) on a sunset backdrop, but sunrise might just be better!
Attendees arrived throughout the breakfast hour and after some coffee and mingling, headed over into the main auditorium for a welcome from Dean Lyons. As usual, Dean Lyons was engaging and personable as he shared about Haas’ four defining principles.
He acknowledged that many will read about Haas’ defining principles on the website and wonder if it’s just a heap of carefully crafted messaging with little substance behind it. I saw some in the audience nod. The dean then proceeded to share anecdotes that illustrated that the principles are present and thriving not only among students, but among faculty and staff as well. The defining principles aren’t hollow shells that we are seeking to fill. Instead, they are everyday life here at Haas, and it’s only in recent years that we have attempted to codify our culture and be explicit about who we are and what we value.
After the dean’s welcome, Professor Nora Silver, Director of the Center for Nonprofit and Public Leadership, shared about her current research on multi-sector leadership (learn more here). She shared preliminary findings and engaged the audience in a discussion about the prevalence of multi-sector leadership and why we might be seeing this play out.
I had talked to several attendees over breakfast who were interested in the non-profit sector, so I was especially excited to have them hear Professor Silver speak. Checking in with the same attendees during lunch, many of them expressed that they felt incredibly lucky to have been able to hear from her and walked away feeling inspired, both personally and professionally. I wasn’t surprised. I first learned about Professor Silver’s infectious energy and her passion for the non-profit sector, when I took “Introduction to Nonprofit Management” with her years ago as an undergrad at Haas. Since then the Center for Nonprofit and Public Leadership has continued to grow and its success is a big part of why I came back to Haas.
Lunch was served out in the courtyard – it was a beautiful 75 degrees outside today – and we all enjoyed a little sun. Prospective students interested in the Full-Time, Evening/Weekend, and Berkeley-Columbia programs sat with student volunteers in the respective programs and were able to ask questions about academics, student life, professional goals, the social scene and everything in between.
The rest of the day included sessions and panels with admissions, the Career Management Group, a keynote address and an alumnae and student panel. To close out the day, we had an afternoon reception with all kinds of snacks and plenty of drinks. Volunteers answered additional questions and did what they do best to show off Haas – they were themselves!
Overall, I thought the energy of speakers, attendees, current students (major shout out to the 2 dozen+ volunteers across all 3 Haas programs!) was fantastic today. It was a long day, but it was also energizing and definitely well worth it.
I often find that I enjoy talking about my experiences at Haas, especially on days like today, because it allows me (or pushes me) to reflect aloud on my experiences. What’s going well? What’s been fun? What do I wish I did differently? What’s next? There’s always so much happening each day that it’s easy to just let the days and weeks get away from me. So whether it’s talking about classes, a recent social gathering, my (awesome) study team, or an upcoming case competition, I love having the opportunity to reflect and be a student voice for Haas at the same time.